Sunday, 12 June 2011

On Jura

This is Saturday's Blog.

Ah Jura. "The best island in Scotland", said a fellow passenger on the way there this morning. I guess he's biased, as he lives there, but he's not far off the mark. It's totally unspoilt: no tourist trappings, only a few inhabitants (outnumbered by 200:1 by the deer). The three Paps dominate the scenery; fell runners actually climb all three and return to Craighouse in little more than three hours. It's my second time on the island and it certainly didn't disappoint. Fine weather too; the journey across from Tayvallich was like a millpond.

My challenge was to reach Ardlussa, some 17 miles away from the landing point at Craighouse (and back), in the four and a half hours available. At least I wasn't weighed down with panniers, having left them in my tent at Tayvallich. Some of the hills were rather steep, but I managed to visit the two jetties at Lagg and Ardlussa, returning to Craighouse in just over four hours.

I had been wondering where all the deer had gone, when four splendid roe deer leapt across the road in front of me. They then stood gazing at me from the sanctuary of a field some 100 metres away, too far for a decent photo.

On the way back to Tayvallich I gave the boat owner one of my cards, as he was interested in what I was doing. He promptly returned one of the single fares, so that's another £20 towards the charities. Good luck to the Jura Passenger Ferry, now that it has secured sufficient funding to operate four days a week (Friday to Monday inclusive).

The views from the speeding boat were impressive, especially as it entered Loch Sween, with the Island of Danna (not actually an island as it is connected to the mainland by a causeway) to the left and Castle Sween to the right (rather spoilt by a proliferation of caravans).

Tomorrow I shall head back to the Crinan Canal, following its towpath to the 'other' end at Ardrishaig before continuing south to the Kintyre Peninsula.

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